Area home

Spring Points

  lifeworldly conceptuality
gary e. davis
June 2020

‘Conceptuality’ isn’t in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged. It turns up in other Web-based dictionaries—not that I look to lexicality for insight, rather for ac-knowledgement of ordinariness as it is: “a conceptualization,” “pertaining to concepts or to the forming of concepts,” which gels with M-W Unabridged’s (pay walled, but here’s the free version: ‘conceptual’): “of or relating to concepts.” Conceptuality is the of, relating to.

A concept is, says M-W—I love this— “something conceived in the mind : thought, idea, notion,” then elaborated there as a lexical sense for philosophy and for logic; then as comprehensiveness, originally from Latin for “collection, gathering, conceiving.”

No wonder then that Heidegger paths his way through “Conversation on a Country Path” to a notion of “the regioning of that which regions.”

That which regions expresses intrinsically self-enhancive interest, which individ-uates capability for cohering. Capabilities can be understood as proper functions (or “affordances,” Ruth Garrett Millikan, but post-biologistically) for cohering interests (values) of action relative to emergent experience. Capabilities conceive conceptions that are gatheral comprehension regions. Capabilities do the “blend-ing” of the blend named by a concept that tropes that capable cohering shown (or presumed). When developmental psychologists distinguish modes of concept-uality for a given stage of individuating intelligence (e.g., chapter 16 here), the lived, self-efficacious integrating is a derived mode of capability to cohere in
the first place. Mental spaces are appellant, purposive temporalities: anticipating (futural) satisfactions (to be realized retropectively) through immanent enactivity (presently). I detailed this more here, mid-page, re: “Givenness (G), enacting (E), and fulfillment (F) are abstracted points in a 3-fold flow of daily action…”

I’ve more-broadly distinguished [a] capability for concepting (in accord with Philippa Foot, Millikan, and Martha Nussbaum) and [b] concepts that are like named sets: “emergingness (c-conceptualty) in relation to ordinary conceptuality (t-concept-uality),” though that was largely improvisational.

One’s sense of so-called “embodiment” is an abstraction of lifeworldliness whose feeling of oneSelf can allow a differentiated concept of “mind” because one can represent being alive as observable (being alive). This is dramatically expressed by persons (selfidentities) who think of having bodies as means of expression:
the dancer, the actor, or the athlete, who regard their “body” relative to expressive interests of action, inhabiting a performative work or event. Classical problems of “mind/body” duality (chapters 3 and 4 here) are “ontogenically” moot, being ultimately problems of conceptual relativization.

Self-reflective conceptuality expresses the “nature” of human potential to con-ceive what matters for one’s life, expressing distantly (for adult interest in such things) the intrinsic appeal of Self actualization for, at best, a high quality of life that is one’s own—a high quality of ownmost life drawn into the appeal of a highest quality of life.

No wonder, then, that we conceive and establish the durable integrity of character strengths and virtues: We’re integrally drawn into horizons of high individuation, living for love of vitality, integrity, gratitude, humility, open-mindedness, hope, prudence, humor, fairness, bravery, forgiveness, and citizenship.

In light of such flourishing wholly, virtuousness can be pragmatically under-
stood as a threefold of exemplarity (S/s-oriented flourishing), admirability
(s/p-oriented presence) and the balanced efficacy of that across time in temporal theaters, so to speak.

That sense of virtuous life is mirrored by Julia Annas’s Intelligent Virtue, whose sense of exemplarity (ch. 2: “Virtue, character, and disposition”) and admirability (ch. 7: “Virtue and goodness”) gains balance as her entire discourse, which I’ll return to later.

Entire, centripetal discourses are to love, especially for cultivating one’s human-ity. Looking at Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s Evolving Self: a psychology for the third millennium, 27 years after its publication, 1993, still evinces exuberance:
the scale of aspiring to cultivate one’s humanity by a father of positive psychology is an exemplary excursion in scientific artistry.

Such ambition is supplemented biosystemically by prospecting communicativity across modes of emergence and embodiment (pp. 205ff.) And other exemplars
of high-scale (interdomainal) excursions into scientific artistry are abundant.

Centripetal appeal of prospective well-formedness serves integrally human desire for best possible comprehensibility. That may contain formal/rigorous deriv-ations which serve trans-scalar appeals; but algorithmicity (and axiomaticity) conceal the human interest and formative capabilities which design rigorous formality—and make it worthwhile to purposefully implement.

Overall, conceptuality is a discursive derivative of lifeworld capability for com-prehension, not an “ontological” nature constituting humanness. The technical reality of so much diversity in discourse about concepts (which I’ll return to later) attests the manifoldness of conceptuality as such.

Yet, technical inquiry in conceptuality rarely asks (if at all—SEP doesn’t): What’s the point? What cultivation of humanity—what progressivity—is credibly served?

next—> cultivating humanity: cultural progressing



  Be fair. © 2020, gary e. davis